Mar 24, 2007 8:55am
A brief history of split songs
Here's what I've been able to put together with everyone's help:
The earliest split song on record appears to be Schoolgirl > You Don't Love Me > Schoolgirl, sometime in 1966. It's sometimes included with 2-25-66 tracks but is generally thought to be a few months later.
After that, the next I could find was Alligator > China Cat > Eleven > Alligator from 2-23-68 or 2-24-68 (DP22). This is also the only split Alligator I could find. Some track listings for the 4-23-69 Ark show give Alligator > Eleven > Alligator, but the second Alligator is just a jam, while the DP22 second Alligator includes Pigpen's Alligator rap.
Here's the part I find interesting: in April 69, it's like the boys discovered the general principle of splitting songs and played with it for a bit before dropping it. For example:
They did St. Stephen > It's a Sin > St. Stephen on 04-17-69 at Washington University in St. Louis and again on 4-23-69.
On 4-26-69, they did The Other One > Eleven > The Other One, and the next night, they did a monumental Lovelight > Me & My Uncle > Sittin' on Top of the World; Dark Star > St. Stephen > Eleven > conclusion of Lovelight (both on DP26).
After that flurry, they largely cooled down on split songs until near the end of the year.
The first split Dark Star I could find was 11-8-69 at Fillmore Auditorium: Dark Star > The Other One > Dark Star > Uncle John's Band jam > Dark Star (DP16). In the Europe 72 tour, they also split Dark Star with El Paso and Me & My Uncle.
In early 1970, they started splitting St. Stephen with Not Fade Away. The Night at the Family Dog download-series release from 2-4-70 predates the earliest in the databases by four days.
On 10-10-70 at Queens College in NYC, they started the long tradition of splitting Not Fade Away with Going Down the Road Feeling Bad. But while they first preceded that with St. Stephen on the very next night, I don't think they ever did the nested split SS > NFA > GDTRFB > NFA > SS. Oh well.
The first nested split appears to have been Good Lovin' > Caution > Who Do You Love? > Caution > Good Lovin' from 4-14-72 in Copenhagen (on the remastered Europe 72), though the Who Do You Love is a whopping 22 seconds long.
The first split Playin' in the Band in the databases is 10/21/73 in Omaha, NE: Playin' In The Band > Mississippi Half-Step > Big River > Playin' In The Band, kicking off probably the most long-standing and varied split-song tradition. The first nested split of same was Playin' in the Band > Uncle John's Band > Morning Dew > Uncle John's Band > Playin' in the Band, staring on 11-10-73 at Winterland.
Three "club sandwich" splits cited by Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer were:
Dark Star > Attics Of My Life > Dark Star > Sugar Magnolia > Dark Star from 6-24-70
The Other One > Big River > The Other One > Eyes Of The World > The Other One from 11-14-73
Playing In The Band > El Paso > Playing In The Band > Wharf Rat Jam > Dark Star Jam > Wharf Rat > Playing In The Band from 11-21-73
I haven't heard the first. In the case of the latter two, the middle The Other One and Playin' are just jams, so I'm not sure they really count. Anyone know of a club sandwich split with lyrics at every stage? (For you youngsters, a club sandwich has three slices of bread with two compartments for meat and condiments--like a Big Mac.)
Sugar Magnolia was first split on 06/28/74 at Boston Garden, framing the entire second set. Split Sugar Magnolias occurred at least 28 more times from then till 6-10-94 (according to SetList).
Among the other split songs identified in response to my earlier post were Music Never Stopped, Cassidy, Devil in a Blue Dress, Dancin' in the Streets, Slipknot, Scarlet Begonias. I haven't heard all of the shows cited, so I can't confirm every one. But I do heartily call your attention to the Dancin' in the Streets > Wharf Rat > Dancin' in the Streets from 10-10-76 at Oakland Coliseum (DP33), which I find a more varied and interesting version of Dancin' in the Streets than the sacrosanct Cornell version.
For more details, see: http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=112399
Thanks to all for chipping in!